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Country Profiles

Middle East Overview

There is far more to the Middle East than the images portrayed in the media. A striking blend of landscapes and cultures, warm, welcoming people, stark beautiful terrains, captivating ancient civilizations, astonishing architecture, and breathtaking vistas are only a few of the reasons why more and more travellers are drawn to this region of the world. Take a swim in the incredibly buoyant and mineral-rich waters of one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world - the Dead Sea! Go desert camping under a star-lit sky! Experience the awe-inspiring, ancient city of Petra that has attracted visitors since ancient times. Wherever you go, whatever you do, the sights and sounds of this vibrant region promise to capture your imagination!

Prospects for Teachers

For qualified and experienced educators, Middle Eastern countries are an excellent employment option because the oil industry has typically allowed for highly competitive remuneration packages. Today, hundreds of educators use teaching English as their means to explore a region of the world, which would normally be inaccessible to them. Since high salaries are the norm here, competition for educators can be much fiercer than in other parts of the world such as South America, or Asia. Very rarely are short contracts offered. Typical contracts run from 12 months to two years. Most recently, there has been a rise in the demand for English teachers as Middle Eastern countries slowly open up to foreigners. Teachers new to the Middle East should be aware that in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, segregated teaching is mandatory. Because men are predominantly found in businesses and universities, there is a much higher demand for male teachers. However, the existing disadvantage to female educators is beginning to subside as many new universities and colleges for women are starting to spring up. Today, the Middle East still remains a politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive region. Just as with any job abroad, teachers should do a lot of research in order to minimize culture shock and ensure a perfect teacher-culture fit.

Featured Testimonial - Oman

Hola amigos!

When people learn that I give presentations about Arab countries, they are usually very surprised, so, every talk I give starts the same:

"Hello! I am not Arab. I am not Muslim. But still I have a lot to share with you. I lived in the Middle East for three years. I was not kidnapped and my friends were not terrorists. Now, I want to share my experiences with you..."

So what was a Spanish speaking Argentinean girl doing in the Sultanante of Oman for three years?

Teaching English of course!

I was hired at a job fair in the U.S. and, once hired, started reading about what was to become one of the best experiences of my life!

I was sent to teach English to students entering university (SQU, Sultan Qaboos University www.squ.edu.om) in the capital city of Muscat. My students had just graduated from high school and because of their high grades they could go to SQU. It was a big challenge for them because it was their first time away from their families and villages and also because for the first time men and women were allowed in the same classroom!

I taught my students English, but they taught me so much more! Through them I learned about their culture, religion and values. I was also invited to their villages where I was always more than welcome. Wow! Arab hospitality is not a myth!

Shortly after my arrival, I started studying Arabic. Believe me, it is not as difficult as it may first seem. I got to know the locals and quickly made friends. The Omani are friendly and peaceful people and are very willing to share their culture.

My friends in Argentina kept telling me "be careful"! Of what? I still don't know.

Today, I am back home in Argentina, but the friends I made overseas are friends for life and the lessons I learned ever lasting.

Thank you. Gracias. Shukran.

-Carmela Flores, Cordoba, Argentina